8K resolution is on track to become the new standard for TVs and monitors, but is it really worth the extra money? Read on to learn about the technology, the content, the requirements, and other things to consider before investing in 8K.

We’re only just beginning to see 4K video widely accessible through our favorite content providers, but its successor – 8K – is already available.

So what’s the difference between 4K and 8K resolution? How can you record 8K video? Where can you watch 8K content? And is it worth the additional cost? In the following article, we answer these questions and many others.

What is 8K resolution?

8K resolution is the next step up from 4K resolution, with four times the number of pixels of its predecessor.

As with 4K, the term applies to both devices that record in this resolution (cameras and smartphones, for example) and displays capable of showing it off (televisions and computer displays).

Whereas 4K recording devices and displays use 4840 x 2160 pixels, 8K devices and displays boost this to 7680 x 4320 pixels – a combined total of 33,177,600 pixels (33.2MP).

Some 6K devices, which sit between the two, also exist, although this resolution tends to be confined to a handful of professional recording products rather than widely available consumer devices.

Resolution comparison table

Dimensions 1920 X 1080 3840 x 2160 7680 X 4320
Total pixels 2.1MP 8.3MP 33.2MP
Aspect ratio 16:9 16:9 16:9

Why is it called 8K?

The name 8K refers to the number of pixels found on the horizontal edge of the image, which is approximately 8,000.

While this name is commonly used as a catch-all term, it’s actually broken down into two main sub-categories: 8K UHD (Ultra-High Definition) – also known as UHD2 – and 8K DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives – a partnership between a number of major movie studios that was formed to establish standards for digital cinema systems).

8K UHD vs 8K DCI: What’s the difference?

8K UHD has the standard 16:9 aspect ratio used by the majority of modern TVs and computer monitors, and has 7680 x 4320 pixels.

8K DCI refers to the slightly wider 256:135 aspect ratio used in movie projection, measuring 8192 x 4320 pixels.

This dual format is common to previous display resolutions, such as 4K UHD vs 4K DCI and Full HD vs 2K DCI, as illustrated in the diagram below.

The reason for the difference is simple: by making movies in a wider aspect ratio, people still have a reason to go to the cinema.